|Is this Dick Vermeil, or is this me in three years? I'm starting to get concerned...|
One of the coolest things about having a kid is watching her develop. It’s incredible to see how quickly she picks up on language and how she is able to learn so many new things each and every day. Believe me; I’m eagerly anticipating the day I walk in the door to see her violently swinging a golf club in my direction. Though the pain may be great (and, depending on where I’m struck, it very well may be), it will all be worth it to see my little girl interested in golf…I think.
For me, my interest goes beyond just watching my daughter grow up. I don’t know if there’s a technical term for this, but I’m sort of a people watcher. No, not in the “get in my van” type of way! I’m not sitting in a tree limb staring at you through your bedroom window! Take it easy! All I mean is, I find people to be fascinating. I like to understand who they are, what makes them tick, and what idiosyncrasies they have (mostly so I can make fun of them). Most of all, I find people’s development to be interesting. One of the things I’ve noticed, and don’t quite understand, is that as people age, they either develop emotionless hearts of stone, or they go the other way and become extremely emotional. You know I’m right!
I always pictured myself as turning into the type of heartless jerk who laughs when the neighborhood skateboarder falls off a railing and break his wrist. It’s not that I want to be this type of person; it just seemed like the natural progression for me. I am, after all, the same guy who really didn’t think Michael Vick did anything deserving of jail time. By the way, I still don’t! BRING ON THE HATE MAIL! Anyways, it kinda seems like I’m starting to go the other way…and I’m not sure how I feel about it. You have to understand that, despite my actual age of 25, I consider myself to be an old person. I’m married, I have a two year old and another kid on the way, I’ve never had a drop of alcohol in my life and I have no idea what the point of parties are, I have creaky, arthritic knees, and I hate Jersey Shore. All of that=old person. So my transformation into either a full blown Ebenezer Scrooge or Dick Vermeil has already begun.
Maybe it has something to do with having kids or maybe it’s something else altogether, but it really seems like I’m heading down the Dick Vermeil path. Don’t worry, I’m not actually crying as I write this…yet. I’ve noticed I’m getting a bit emotional during certain movies, I’m not rooting against people as much (though I still have plenty of unnecessary enemies), and I’m feeling infinitely more nostalgic than ever before. Not good! So, as Lebron James says, what should I do? (By the way, I’ll never not hate Lebron no matter how emotional I get! DIE!) Should I box up these emotions and attempt to morph into Tom Coughlin? Believe me, I would love nothing more, but I just can’t seem to fight this nostalgic urge I have to look back at the 2010-2011 college basketball season. And so, at your expense, I’m going to embrace my inner Dick Vermeil as we take another trip down memory lane (I will definitely be in tears by the end of this!).
Now, look, I know the college basketball season ended less than two weeks ago. I realize it’s completely pathetic to get emotional over it already and I understand I’ve written and talked about it endlessly. I’m sure you’re all getting really tired of hearing about it, but I just can’t let it go! Can’t! Won’t! College basketball; we need you! Heck, I need you. I’m a mess without you. I miss you so dang much. I miss being with you, I miss being near you. I miss your laugh. I miss your scent. I miss your musk; and when all this gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together!
Since I’m refusing to sit the next couple of plays out, why don’t we take one last final look back at the 2010-2011 season? Here’s what I’ll remember…
Did you really expect me to start off with anything other than Kentucky? Come on, you should know better than that by now! This was a crazy rollercoaster season for me. It started off with some pretty nice non-conference wins against Washington, Notre Dame, and Louisville, but took a hard downward turn with several brutal conference losses. The loss at Arkansas was the worst for me, and I had given up hope by that point. Thankfully, I clearly know nothing about basketball since we made a huge run. I’m still not sure this was one of the four best teams this year, but watching them grow and develop into a contender was great.
Kyrie Irving’s Toe
Duke was far and away the best team until Kyrie limped off the floor on December 4. Honestly, I thought they were close to unbeatable with him! While still a top team without him, they clearly missed his ability to create shots for everyone else. Nolan Smith turned himself into a true National POY candidate, but he’s not a true PG and he couldn’t come close to replicating what Irving brought to the table. Even though Irving made it back for the tournament, the damage was already done. Chemistry and roles became a clear problem upon his return…and thank goodness because I hate Duke! Take that Cutter!
I’m probably making too big a deal out of this, but doesn’t it seem like a big chunk of the non-conference season is completely unwatchable? I guess I understand the reasoning behind the scheduling, but it kinda sucks for the fans. Who really wants to watch Kansas vs. Longwood or Ohio State vs. Tennessee-Martin? No, not every team schedules a steady diet of intramural squads (actually Kansas scheduled pretty aggressively…horrible example by me…crap), but I’d certainly like to see more top ten matchups. Hats off to Tom Izzo for scheduling the entire top ten every single year!
Hopefully you’re not expecting me to say something nice because at least part of my heart is still made of stone. I’m not trying to pee in anyone’s cereal here, but VCU is not a cool story, they didn’t belong in the tournament, and they screwed everything up! I HATE VCU! BYAH!
The Harrellson Hurl
If you watched the Ohio State-Kentucky Sweet Sixteen game, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I have never seen anyone throw a basketball off another player as viciously as Harrellson did to Jared Sullinger. At that point, I’m pretty sure Sullinger was terrified of Harrellson and, truthfully, I was too! All joking aside, I’ve been obsessed with UK basketball my entire life and I haven’t seen a player improve as much as Josh Harrellson since Nazr Mohommed in the mid 90’s. Josh came to UK as a sophomore and he was completely and utterly useless. Even at the start of this season, he was easily the weakest part of our team! To see where he is now is incredible and I’m going to miss watching him play.
Napa Know How
N-N-N-Napa Know How!
The First Four
What a stupid idea! Stop expanding this tournament! Because of this ridiculous gimmick, we had to endure garbage VCU taking out legitimate teams simply because they had a couple weeks where they literally couldn’t miss a single three pointer. Also, can we please stop calling it the 1st round? IT’S NOT THE FIRST ROUND! THEY’RE PLAY IN GAMES! GET IT RIGHT! Man, I’m angry…I know I’m making too big a deal out of this, but I don’t care. I need these rounds labeled correctly!
This seems to be a yearly tradition now…throw in Rick Barnes and the Big 12 (with only ten teams) is looking great!
Jimmer mania swept the nation from the start…and I was the only person who didn’t jump on board. It’s not that I hate the guy or anything; the hype was simply too much and, the more I watched him, the more I realized he’s just a selfish gunner who gets his stats no matter what. What’s so special about that?
Here’s a superstar I can get on board with! This guy had some selfish streaks at times, but he worked hard on both ends of the floor and trusted his teammates in big moments. There’s no denying the development of the players around him, especially Jeremy Lamb, and Kemba had a big hand in that. Take that Jimmer! I don’t care who actually got the awards; Kemba is, without a doubt, the REAL Player of the Year. Whether it was winning five games in five days or going undefeated in tournament play, Kemba was able to lift this team well beyond where they should have been.
The Big East
Apart from the SEC and Big Ten, I’d say I easily watched more Big East games than every other conference combined. Say what you will about the Big East after their NCAA tournament melt down, but I still think it was far and away the best conference this season. The teams were so competitive with each other and the games so exciting! The Big East tournament, of course, is always the gem of conference tournament season and this year was no different thanks to UConn’s incredible five games in five days run.
One other quick Big East thing; did they set a record for ‘Most Hair Product Used by Coaches?’ Think about it; Jay Wright, Steve Lavin, Jaime Dixon, Rick Pitino…am I missing anyone. How much product do these guys go through in a year? Do they just wipe their hand over their car engine and run it through their hair? Also, while I’m on the topic of hair, why does Billy Donovan insist on looking more and more like Eddie Munster every year?
What a giant clown! Having a recruit over to a barbecue? Telling his parents, “I won’t tell if you won’t tell?” Are you serious Bruce Pearl? And then you lie to the NCAA about it? THIS IS HILARIOUS! Look, I hate Tennessee and I hate Bruce Pearl. I hate that stupid orange jacket he wears and I hate that he actually turns a shade of Tennessee orange during games. Say all you want about John Calipari, but this guy actually got caught cheating and I’m glad he’s gone. Sadly, the SEC takes a hit with this. Despite being a clown, Pearl actually did a great job of re-building Tennessee basketball and I have my doubts about Cuonzo Martin’s ability to pick up the pieces.
I love Matt Howard and his floppy hair! Any Butler fan or college basketball nut (like me) can tell you how good Howard was his first three years, but the step forward he took this year was remarkable. Many wrote off Butler after the loss of Hayward, but Howard’s expanded game easily filled the void. He developed a much better face up game, even extending his range out to the three point line. Even then, his numbers still don’t tell the full story. Call it intangibles or whatever else you will, but Howard simply outhustles everyone else and has an uncanny knack for where to be. I love watching those types of players and I’ll greatly miss watching Howard next year.
Since I live in Columbus, I end up watching most of the team’s games. Obviously I’m thrilled my team knocked them off, especially considering the abuse I would take if OSU had won, but it does feel wrong that Ohio State wasn’t in the Final Four…especially considering who actually was. Truth is I loved watching this team play! They had an old school type team based on low post play, passing, and defense. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one more time; Ohio State was the best team this year. I certainly hope OSU fans look back on this season as a success, despite the Sweet Sixteen loss, because this really was a remarkable team.
The Worst National Championship Game Ever
I really hate to end with this, but, unfortunately, it will be the lasting image from this season. Truth is this wasn’t a great year and there were no great teams. The two closest teams were Duke, which lost their chance after Irving went down, and Ohio State. Beyond that, would you call Pitt great? UConn? Kentucky? Even still, nothing could have prepared me for what would happen in this game. 18.8% shooting. Wow. Like I said, I think the arena had something to do with it (if you don’t believe that, you probably didn’t play basketball beyond middle school), but even then…18.8%! I’m not going to go into the whole thing again, because I’m sad Butler ended it that way after how well they had played up to that point. All I’m saying is, this was the biggest game of the year and it’s how the season will be remembered. Sad. Better cue up the tiny violins and call a press conference because I can feel the Dick Vermeil tears coming quickly… HURRY UP 2011-2012 SEASON! I NEED YOU!